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Natural Fam Ily Planning

  • Date Submitted: 07/10/2011 12:42 AM
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Natural family planning
Natural family planning (NFP) is a term referring to the family planning methods approved by the Roman Catholic Church. In accordance with the Church's requirements for sexual behavior in keeping with its philosophy of the dignity of the human person, NFP excludes the use of other methods of birth control.
Periodic abstinence and the natural infertility caused by breastfeeding are the only methods deemed moral by the Church for avoiding pregnancy. When used to avoid pregnancy, NFP limits sexual intercourse to naturally infertile periods: portions of the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, or after menopause. Various methods may be used to identify whether a woman is likely to be fertile; this information may be used in attempts to either avoid or achieve pregnancy.
History
Pre-20th century
Possibly the earliest Christian writing about periodic abstinence was by St. Augustine. In the year 388, he wrote, "Is it not you who used to counsel us to observe as much as possible the time when a woman, after her purification, is most likely to conceive, and to abstain from cohabitation at that time...?" The Manichaean’s (the group the early church father St. Augustine wrote of) believed that it was immoral to create any children, thus (by their belief system), trapping souls in mortal bodies. Augustine condemned them for their use of periodic abstinence: "From this it follows that you consider marriage is not to procreate children, but to satiate lust."
If the Manichaean’s had an accurate idea of the fertile portion of the menstrual cycle, such knowledge died with them. Documented attempts to prevent pregnancy by practicing periodic abstinence do not appear again until the mid-19th century, when various calendar-based method were developed "by a few secular thinkers." The Roman Catholic Church's first recorded official statement on periodic abstinence to avoid pregnancy is from 1853, where a ruling of the church's Sacred Penitentiary addressed...

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